The hills are my friends

Ok, it’s official-ish. I ran 10k today in a race situation and completed it without either of my legs breaking! Woop!

It wasn’t really a ‘race’, as such. Yes, we all set off from a start point and each had a number and each got a time, etc. But it was splashy and slippery and muddy and didn’t really feel competitive in a proper way. Some parts were just too damn muddy to build any real speed up. I was too busy trying to pull my feet out of the ankle deep mud that was trying to suck my entire body in.

As the crowd headed to the start line, I hung back, as is my way with group runs. That way, I either stay in the same position at the back or I take over a few people. I’m happy at the back. As we got going, I settled into a rhythm quite easily and when I saw the 2k sign, I multiplied how long I’d been going for by five which, coincidentally, was my exact finishing time, to the minute. A few of the people in front of me who had pushed themselves to go fast to start with had now slowed to a walk, tired by their initial efforts. And this is why, I thought, I don’t go fast at the beginning (or ever!).

Feeling comparatively speedy, I overtook the walkers and imagined myself graceful and Baywatch-esque. Until, that is, a tall gentleman who was doing something only one notch up from a walk passed me by and then I acted all cool, like I didn’t even care.

It was a lovely route to run, actually. There is something striking and very attractive about the harsh leafless landscapes of winter. Sometimes, when there was no-one else near by and I was crashing through the outstretched branches of trees on a teeny tiny path, I felt like an explorer in a far-off land and couldn’t help grinning.

As the run-walkers exerted themselves overtaking me, then slowed to a walk and I overtook them, I realised where my advantage in this game lay = in the hills. Because Danny of Project Awesome makes us run hills for 45 minutes every Friday morning and encourages us to go faster and keep running and not walk, I can now deal with hills without too much trouble. I’d approach a downhill and, with the high mud factor, slow down to avoid the possibility of falling. I would hear the run-walkers behind me seeing a chance at easy fast mileage and they’d take me over, hurling themselves down bravely in order to get ahead. Meeting an uphill at the bottom, they would slow to a walk and pant heavily. I would then approach the hill with my Project Awesome head on and overtake them and run it. It got to the point where, nearer the end, I was praying for hills to give me a bit of a lead.

1k from the end, I approached a very steep downhill that a steward was telling me I should “just charge down” because “you’re less likely to fall”. I didn’t doubt it but I still didn’t fancy charging down the mud hill so I dropped onto my bum and slid down to find a fairly wide river at the bottom. I was told again to “charge” across and took his advice this time. The water was freezing and came almost to my knees but, wierdly enough, it was quite refreshing. As I clamboured up the equally muddy incline on the other side to head for the finish line, I didn’t feel tired. My legs felt fine and my body felt fine. I reasoned that, if necessary, I could maybe have done the course again, which made me feel hopeful for the fact that there’s a half marathon in 7 weeks that I’ve been unsure about but maybe it will be ok? Maybe my legs will not break?

As I headed to the finish line, I was handed water and a bag of goodies and, perfectly timed, Danda then arrived on the scene to take a pic, obviously.


Mission accomplished! (More hills next time, please.)

4 responses to this post.

  1. Well done! 🙂


  2. That’s amazing – in this weather and mud! Well done!


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